When The Mosul Dam Breaks
The catastrophe will come as no shock. The manner in which the Mosul Dam was built and the why as to its construction is only the start of the reasons as to why there will be many held responsible for the carnage.
The U.S. Embassy’s report on the Mosul Dam envisions a similar scenario, magnified by the dam’s greater size and the densely populated areas downstream. A “tsunami-like wave” would rush through Mosul, carrying away everything in its path, including bodies, buildings, cars, unexploded bombs, hazardous chemicals, and human waste. The wave would almost certainly catch most of the people trying to outrun it. Residents of Mosul, scrambling on foot and by car through a citywide traffic jam, would need to travel at least three and a half miles to survive. In less than an hour, those who remained would be under as much as sixty feet of water.
With Mosul and other nearby villages occupied by ISIS, an orderly evacuation would be unlikely; the prospect of large numbers of people fleeing cities under ISIS control would pose its own security challenges. “Some evacuees may not have freedom of movement sufficient to escape,” the report said. An inland tidal wave could displace the 1.2 million refugees now living in tents and temporary quarters in northern Iraq, adding to the chaos.
The wave, the Embassy’s report predicted, would move rapidly through the cities of Bayji, Tikrit, and Samarra, wiping out roads, power stations, and oil refineries; damage to the electrical grid would probably leave the entire country without power. At least two-thirds of Iraq’s wheat fields would be flooded.
South of Samarra, residents would likely have to get farther away to avoid flooding, since the land begins to flatten out, making the floodplain wider. Shallow floods, the State Department said, could not be ignored. “Less than six inches of moving water is strong enough to knock a person off his feet,” the statement said.
Within four days, the wave would reach Baghdad, depositing as much as sixteen feet of water in many areas of the city, probably including the airport and the Green Zone, the site of government buildings and most of the embassies. The report said the majority of the city’s six million residents would face Hurricane Katrina-like conditions: people forced from their homes, with limited or no mobility and no essential services.